Umar Tan: Perginya Seorang PejuangSedutan dari blog Sdr. Iskandar...
November 6, 2006
Some two hundred people, from friends to civil society leaders, dropped in at Pak Lang’s Bangi house to offer their condolences and prayers for the departed. Those present included Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, president of People’s Justice Party; Syed Shahir, president of Malaysian Trade Union Congress; Dr. Hatta Ramli, Treasurer of PAS and Kuala Lumpur’s own bon vivant, Hisham Rais.
Reformists. NGOs. Students. Writers. Editors. It felt almost like a reunion of our restless generation.
There were others in their cars and vans, racing from Perak, Penang and Melaka, unaware that the burial would be conducted in a matter of hours. Amin, who lives in Korea, asked if he should take the next flight back to Kuala Lumpur.
The send-off was not for a titled person or a celebrity. He was neither a tycoon nor a political dignitary.
Tan Soi Kow (who, of late, went around as Umar Tan Abdullah) or just plain old ‘Ah Tan’ was a most ordinary man who made our lives most extraordinary.
Unbeknownst to most Malaysians, even those who unabashedly wear the velveteen tag of “human rights activists”, Tan was without doubt one of the most committed fighters for democracy and human rights in this country. But one would be hardpressed to find a feature on him or read his words laid out on glossy magazines.
Once, an “activist” asked, “How could you possibly hang out those people (Reformists)?”
The unsaid observation from this person was this; “They aren’t middle-class, they don’t speak English, they probably don’t even own a tie. Urgh. Now can we talk about our international campaign on ….”
To that I answered, “They has done more for the cause than all your years in *—.”
We would find him in almost every protest. He’d be there, helping to carry banners, sometimes delivering materials or bottles of water, making sure we were alright. He would pass around his kretek or offer to buy a round of tea for some of the young ones.
In fact, Tian Chua, who, at that time, was in the Secretariat of Suaram and chair of the Coalition for People’s Democracy, first met Tan when he was thrown into lockup after we unwittingly sent him to monitor one of the demonstrations. Tian got arrested instead.
Semoga ruh beliau mendapat rahmat dari perjuangannya yang tidak pernah lelah semasa di dunia. Inilah pejuang sejati..